If someone does a physical activity to excess they strain the muscle(s) that was/are overused. This can happen to a retired person working in their garden too hard, or to a well-trained athlete who is pushing themselves too hard. This problem is commonly seen in the “weekend warrior” athlete who sits at a desk all week and then plays softball or tennis all day on the weekend. The resultant muscle strain (mild tear) creates inflammation and pain. This strain usually occurs near the end of the muscle where it attaches to a bone or blends into its tendon, creating a condition known as acute tendinitis. This condition could also be created if the muscle is strained from trauma such as a fall or misstep.
When treating acute tendinitis rest the area, apply ice for 10-20 minutes at a time for at least 3 times a day. Do this to the injured area for the first day to 3 days. Moist heat may be used after the acute swelling is improved and rest prevents further muscle injury. Ice will reduces initial inflammation and swelling and the moist heat circulates blood through the area to speed the healing process. This can be further helped by the use of Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ over the affected area, as it increases blood flow to the area. If the patient gradually starting flexing and mobilising the area, the muscle would probably heal fine.
However, this is not what typical person does; they may ice once or twice and rest a bit, but most often just take some Advil or Tylenol and continue on with their normal activities. If the strain was minor, their body may be able to heal the muscle fibers normally. Unfortunately, this is not the usual result because the injured muscle is being used instead of rested. Because of the stress on the muscle, their body heals the injured muscle fibers by binding them together with fibrotic adhesions or scar tissue. This is done in an attempt to prevent further damage to the injured area. It is a normal protective response of their body.
The most common cause of an tendon inflammation (tenosynovitis or tendonitis) is overuse of the affected tendon. Rest of the affected tendon is all that is required in some cases. Other treatments such as anti-inflammatory drugs or a steroid injection are sometimes needed. Infection of a tendon is an uncommon cause but needs treatment with antibiotics if it occurs.
What is tenosynovitis and tendonitis?
* Tendonitis means inflammation of a tendon. (It is sometimes spelled as tendinitis.)
* Tenosynovitis means inflammation of the sheath that surrounds a tendon (the sheath is called the synovium). Tenosynovitis can be caused by calcium deposits, repeated strain or trauma, high levels of blood cholesterol, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or gonorrhea.
These two conditions often occur together.